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Topic: Shenandoah puts on a show (10/20/12), Whiteoak Canyon and Stony Man< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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GaliWalker Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 22 2012, 1:22 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Repost from the Storytelling forum...

Oct 20, 2012: Whiteoak Canyon and Stony Man, Shenandoah National Park

According to the visitor guide, Shenandoah National Park's primary purpose, when it was established in 1935, was to provide the "traditional western national park experience to the urban east". When I first visited Shenandoah in August, I didn't even try to compare it to the western parks I had been to, since the place was so very different. Furthermore, it was quintessential mid-Atlantic terrain and not necessarily that unique, compared to many other beautiful spots I had visited in West Virginia. Yesterday, on a gorgeous fall day my previous impression were turned on its head. Shenandoah was a completely transformed place, wearing its cloak of fall finery better than possibly any other place I'd seen. If Yosemite is the granite classic and Zion the sandstone one, Shenandoah was the oak variety. Absolutely incredible!

Shenandoah: Jigsaw of shadows

Whiteoak Canyon - Cedar Run Canyon loop
Stats: 8.2mi, 2500ft gain

I had hiked Old Rag Mountain on my first trip, but had only briefly explored the Whiteoak Canyon area. I had already decided then, to return to the region and complete one of the Shenandoah classics: hike up Whiteoak Canyon to Skyline Drive - which to most people is Shenandoah National Park - and then back down via Cedar Run Canyon. With this objective in mind, I reached an empty Whiteoak Canyon trailhead by 7:00am.

After self registering and getting my national park permit, I took off up Whiteoak Canyon. The light was just bright enough for me to realize that I was in a different Shenandoah from before. Reds and yellows painted the upper storey, while crisp psychedelic-colored leaves crunched underfoot in the lower storey. The hike was alongside pretty Whiteoak Run. I kept getting distracted by little cascades and pools in the stream, so it was a slow 1.5mi before I reached lower Whiteoak Falls. I was lucky to be able to enjoy this lovely spot in solitude.

Shenandoah: Circle of life

Shenandoah: Golden

Shenandoah: Lower Whiteoak Falls

Shenandoah: Whiteoak Run

A series of switchbacks took me upward through beautiful oaks and maples, until I reached the three upper Whiteoak Falls. As I reached the third falls I ran into the first other hikers, who had approached from Skyline Drive.

Shenandoah: Red

Shenandoah: Fall yellows

Shenandoah: First Upper Whiteoak Falls

Shenandoah:  2nd Upper Whiteoak Falls

Shenandoah: Gold reflection

After the upper Whiteoak Falls, I crossed the run to leave the Whiteoak Canyon trail. The next 2mi or so were along the wide Whiteoak Canyon Fire Road trail. This angled away from Whiteoak Canyon to intersect the Cedar Run trail at Skyline Drive. I completed my 8mi loop by hiking down the Cedar Run trail in gorgeous sunshine and pleasant crowds.

Shenandoah: Bark and sunshine

Shenandoah: Slide and decorative leaves

Shenandoah: Maple leaf and waterfall bokeh

Stony Man and Skyline Drive
Stats: 1.6mi, 250ft gain

After my Whiteoak Canyon hike I drove up to the main Shenandoah National Park attraction, Skyline Drive, which stretches 100mi along the Blue Ridge Mountains. Various scenic overlooks provide expansive views to east and west. On my previous trip I had found these to be quite pretty, but this time around they were spectacular. Waves of colorful ridges, mainly red due to the predominance of oak trees, ebbed and flowed in all directions.

Shenandoah: Old Rag Mountain
Old Rag

I finished off my day with the 1.6mi hike to the Stony Man overlook - short, super crowded, but with superb views.

Shenandoah: Shafts

Shenandoah: Sunshine caresses

Shenandoah: Skyline Drive

Shenandoah: Valley and slopes

Shenandoah: Preening in sunshine

Shenandoah: Skyland and layers of mountains

Shenandoah: Autumn bloom

Shenandoah: Shadows and highlights

Total trip time, to and from Pittsburgh: 21hrs


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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
Photos: http://galiwalker.zenfolio.com
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 23 2012, 10:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Great pics as always.  Looks like you and I were in the same ballpark on saturday.  I was sittin atop old rag right about this time.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 23 2012, 10:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh, then I should have waved at you, when I took this:

Shenandoah: Old Rag Mountain
:D

I was extremely tempted to hike Old Rag, because my only other time was in thick mist. However, I wanted to see more new stuff, so ended up sticking to my original plan.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 23 2012, 2:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If only I had my binoculars I could have waved back.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 24 2012, 8:46 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing the pics.

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Steve
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 24 2012, 9:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

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5 replies since Oct. 22 2012, 1:22 pm < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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